Dale Vince OBE is founder of Ecotricity, the world’s first green energy company, the man behind the Electric Highway, Britain’s national electric vehicle charging network, and chairman of Forest Green Rovers, a football club many would describe as the greenest on the planet.
Dale became concerned about sustainability at a very early age, and at the same time had equally strong ethical concerns in his outlook on food. For Dale, the idea of killing animals for food was simply unconscionable. Later, this ethical position was strengthened by his discovery of the sustainability consequences of meat-eating – and it became an important focus of his work.
Dale famously brought his ethos to Forest Green Rovers by removing meat from the menu for both players and fans in 2010.
His intention was to introduce the football community to an entirely different world of plant-based food. It was hardly preaching to the choir: football fans were a relatively untouched audience, unaccustomed to encountering anything like a vegan burger on match days.
The change wasn’t entirely plain sailing: it was a radical and bold move to change a tradition that had never been questioned, and there was a small pocket of vocal opposition.
The eventual outcome, however, was deeply rewarding, and the vast majority of fans joined the club on a new journey: some even said they’d been inspired to become vegetarian, and people emailed from all over the world saying they wished their own football clubs would do the same.
For Dale, this is all part of a bigger picture. Food is one of the three main pillars of his work: Energy, Transport and Food. Together, these three areas account for 80% of all of our personal carbon footprints, and changing our conventional approach to these would have a transformational effect on our environment, our health and our society.
As Dale says, the change is less about denying one lifestyle, and more about embracing another: it’s about choosing green energy, choosing electric travel and choosing a plant-based diet; simple choices that would lead to a Green Britain.